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Summer Time Chili

Summer Time means fun in the sun less time in the kitchen. Chili is a great way of preparing a meal ahead of time and eating it later. This chili is good fresh but even better after some time to chill. Throw in a polenta cake to help soak up some of the goodness and you have yourself a perfect meal for Summer Time.

1 medium onion

2 medium bell peppers

1 zucchini

2 carrots

4 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons olive oil or Grass Fed Butter

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup of beer (I like to use a stout but use whatever sounds good to you)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (check the label, avoid the salt if you can)

1 cup vegetable broth or water

1 ½ cups of cooked or 1-15 ounce can of each: pinto, kidney, and black beans (you can use whatever beans you got but I like using 3 different kinds because variety is the spice of life)

1 ½ cups hominy (precooked or canned) or corn kernels (optional)

juice of ½ a lemon or 1 lime

2 teaspoons of brown sugar (optional)

Optional to add later for meat eaters

1/2 lbs of ground Grass Fed Beef or Turkey

Serve 6 people easy

Mince up the onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots into pieces about 1/2 inch in size. Dice up the garlic all small. Heat a big pot with medium heat and add in olive oil or grass feed butter. Add the onions and cook them until they start to look a little brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add the bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt and cook for another minute. Add the beer, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and broth then scrap any spices that started sticking to the bottom of the pot. Let that all simmer together for 5 minutes. Stir everything and turn down the heat to medium low. Put the lid on and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, stir it around and if you still want a thicker chili take off the lid and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes. As the chili starts to pull together add the lemon juice to taste. Depending on the brand of tomatoes you got, you might need to add some brown sugar to balance the taste out. Taste again and see if it needs more chili powder or salt. Throw in some cayenne pepper if you want it spicier. Serve warm and lay out some fresh toppings like red onion, jalapeños, and cilantro. For the meat eaters, brown up the 1/2 lbs of beef or turkey in a separate pan add pinch of salt and pepper. Brown the meat for 7 to 10 minutes. Add the meat into individual bowls.

Basic Polenta

2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for grilling or sautéing if desired

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 quart Vegetable stock or broth

1 cup coarse ground cornmeal

3 tablespoons Grass Fed Butter or Vegan Butter Spread

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 ounces Parmesan, grated or Daiya Cheese

Basic Polenta

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large, oven-safe saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and sweat until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.

Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken stock, bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps. Once the mixture is creamy, remove from the oven and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan.

Serve as is, or pour the polenta into 9-inch round cake pan lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely, about 2-3 hours.

Once set, turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares, rounds, or triangles. Brush each side with olive oil and sauté in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, or grill.

To make these vegan substitute the grass fed butter with a natural vegan butter spread and Daiya cheese.

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